Vegetable growers in Kishoreganj are set to reap high profits from their produce as markets gear up to be swarmed with the early varieties of winter vegetables.
Almost all the upazilas of the district have witnessed large arrivals of winter vegetables even before the start of the season – with baskets, pushcarts and portable stalls of local marketplaces stuffed with cabbages, cauliflowers, beans, gourds, balsam-apples, radishes, eggplants and spinach.
Because of the positive yield trends, growers and traders are expecting to meet the local demand for vegetables, as well as that of consumers elsewhere in the country.
According to an official estimate from the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), about 7,000 hectares of land in the district have been brought under vegetable farming in the current season, with a production target of 110,000 tonnes.
Cabbage, though known as a winter vegetable, can be produced even during summer, autumn and spring. Successful cultivation of the vegetable and other vegetables – as evidenced by records in the past few years – has contributed to a gradual socioeconomic change for the district’s grassroots growers.
Most farmers in Pakundia, Katiadi, Bajitpur, Nikli, Kuliarchar, Bhairab, Karimganj, Tarail and Hossainpur upazilas have turned to farming vegetables because of positive output from the market. Most of them start sowing seeds of high-yielding varieties as soon as water recedes from their fields, and have adequate knowledge to boost their production.
Already, a sizeable portion of their produce has been transported to Dhaka, Faridpur, Kushtia and other regions, and a lot more will be transported when winter begins.
Expressing satisfaction, several growers said they were getting “good prices” for their produce.
Abdul Hakim, a grower from Bishwanathpur village in Hossainpur, produced cabbages and cauliflowers on his one-acre field. He was approached by a local trader and offered Tk150,000 for his entire produce but said he had been expecting a higher turnover. “I was hoping to make Tk250,000 from them.”
Md Kabir Mia, another grower of the same village, cultivated vegetables on his 1.5-bigha land and earned around Tk100,000 by selling them. Dwin Islam, a grower of Sukia village in Pakundia, said he had earned Tk30,000 from selling beans and Tk20,000 from selling radishes – all grown on his two-bigha land.
“Fortune smiled on the farmers in the district due to a bumper production of early winter vegetables. This is just the beginning. The prices of vegetables will increase as the season approaches, but will ultimately come down to a tolerable limit. By then, the growers will have had their due profits,” Md. Tamjidur Rahman, a vegetable expert, said.
However, not all growers were happy. Growers from the remote upazilas of Kishoreganj, complained of being coerced into selling their produce directly to local traders – who, they said, were controlling the market.